Nyungwe forest national park
Nyungwe forest national park is one of the protected areas in Rwanda. Its located in the far Southwestern part of the country bordering the neighboring Burundi. Its contiguous with Kibira National park on South, Lake Kivu and Democratic Republic of Congo on the West. Nyungwe forest is among the few remaining and oldest rainforest not only in Rwanda but entire Africa. Its regarded as the best preserved montage rainforest in the whole of Central Africa. Nyungwe forest national park was established in 2004 to tighten the conservation of Chimpanzees and other primates in the forest. The park covers a total land area of 970 square kilometers which is dominated by rainforests, savannah grassland, bamboo forest, swamps and others. Cyangugu town is the nearest town to the park as its remotely located within the borders. The forest is the largest remaining rainforest in East Africa. The park also one of the water catchment areas of Rwanda supplying almost 70% of the country water.
Nyungwe forest national park is a center of biodiversity hosting a wide range of species from plants to animals. The forest has over 1050 plant species, 250 Albertine Rift Endemics, over 200 orchids, 120 butterfly species and others. The vibrant flora has attracted a wide range of insects, birds, animals and other living things at the park. The park hosts over 310 bird species with around 15% of the bird species being Albertine Rift Endemics. Other species include 38 species of reptiles, 32 species of Amphibians. Nyungwe forest national park is a home of over 13 species of primates. The Primates are the major tourist attraction at the park especially Chimpanzees and Monkeys. Nyungwe forest national park hosts over 1000 chimpanzees that are tracked by tourists. When tracking chimpanzees you will not only miss to see the Acrobatic Ruwenzori Columbus, L’Hoest monkey and others species of monkeys in the forest. With the long list of bird species in the park, the park has been considered as birding paradise. Its Rwanda’s one stop destination for birders. The forest is managed by Rwanda Development Board which has created over 130 birding trails in the forest. With the lead of the park game ranger who is classic birder, you will be impressed with the forest. Another impressing and interesting point at the park is Canopy walk. The forest has one of the longest and highest Canopy walk in East Africa. Many tourists come and enjoy swinging on the canopy level of the forest. Its good memorable moments that makes your Rwanda safari much great. Many travelers know Rwanda for Gorilla trekking but Nyungwe forest national park is hidden treasure where you can get beyond experience.
What to see in Nyungwe forest national park?
The forest has more than enough attractions that guests can enjoying viewing while at the park. However much the Chimpanzees take the highlights of the park, there are more to see as listed below:
Nyungwe forest national park hosts the largest population of Chimpanzees in Rwanda. Visiting the park is mostly highlighted by the Chimpanzees. There are several Habituated chimpanzees that guests can enjoy while of a safari to the park. Chimpanzees are the key attraction at the park.
These are part of the 13 primate species found at the park with over 9 species of Monkeys found at the park. Columbus tracking was introduced at the park after overwhelming number of monkeys at the park. They are un missed primates to see while in the interior of the forest. Some of the monkey species are: Grey cheeked Mangabeys, Dents Monkey, Ruwenzori colobus, Owl faced monkey, Mona Monkey, L’Hoest Monkey and many more.
Nyungwe forest national park has 310 bird species 27 Albertine rift endemics part of the species that are established in the forests of the Albertine Rift Endemics, of which three are (red-collared, Rockefeller’s sunbird and Albertine owlet) are unregistered elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine rift. Bird watching at Nyungwe is good since the vegetation is good for birds and many birds are usually seen at the canopy. Of the 27 Albertine Rift Endemics found in Nyungwe Forest National Park are the Ruwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, red-faced woodland warbler, collared apalis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked apalis, Ruwenzori batis and regal sunbird.
Nyungwe Forest is among the few areas that has canopy walk is in essence, a 2 hour stroll on a 200meters long trail 50 meters above the forest cover and one of the most exhilarating activities to do at Nyungwe Forest National Park. The view at the top gives you the eagle’s eye experience; panoramic views that a hike on ground would not offer. For safety reasons, children below the age of 6 years are not allowed to participate in the canopy walk.
What to do in Nyungwe forest national park? Activities in Nyungwe forest national park
This thrilling chimpanzee trekking experience starts at 5am which implies that you should be up earlier. Each trekking group can only have a maximum of 8 members. Nyungwe Forest is a rain forest with a slippery terrain that will require sturdy hiking shoes, a rain poncho in the likely event of a downpour, long sleeved thick shirts for the cold weather, long trousers to protect you from the long creeping undergrowth if you happen to go off the beaten path and binoculars for a better view of the chimps should you find them high up in the trees.
This is one of the activities that are done in Nyugwe Forest National park. You will enjoy tracking playful monkeys. The park hosts a wide range of monkey species like: Grey cheeked Mangabeys, Dents Monkey, Ruwenzori colobus, Owl faced monkey, Mona Monkey, L’Hoest Monkey and many more.
The park has a total of 13 different hiking trails along which you can walk for 1 to 8 hours viewing a multitude of plant, tree, bird, primate and butterfly species of all sorts. Igishigishigi Trail is the shortest trail along which you also find the canopy walk; another adrenaline-charged experience. The longest trail at Nyungwe Forest National Park on the other hand is the Bigugu Trail upon which a hike can take up to 8 hours.
Nyungwe Forest National park is among the Top birding destinations in Rwanda with over 310 bird species. From the Albertine Rift endemics to the Forest endemics there are numerous species to set your eyes upon. The best yet rarest ones to see are the Great Blue Turaco, the Re-Throated Alethe, the Paradise Flycatcher and the Gigantic Forest Hornbill. The bonus views include the purple breasted and the blue headed sunbird, the Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Green Pigeons, Ross’s Turaco, Red-Breasted Sparrow Hawk, White Headed Wood Hoopoe, Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-Breasted Tit and the Regal Sunbird.
Nyungwe Forest National park is one stop destination for all your primate safaris. Contact budget Uganda gorilla safaris.